The 20 Best Restaurants in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick

Dear Bushwick's pork chop (c/o Time Out)

Dear Bushwick’s pork chop (c/o Time Out)

DEAR BUSHWICK

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Dear Bushwick is a wonderful newish-comer to the neighborhood and is one of the more romantic and cozy places you’ll find in all of Brooklyn. The owner refers to this gastropub as “England meets Vermont” which sounds about right to us. Four words: get the pork chop. It’s served with acorn squash (or sometimes brussel sprouts) in a bacon-y vinaigrette and it’s divine when paired with a creamy Innis and Gunn.

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Shalom Japan

Shalom Japan

SHALOM JAPAN

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“Everything on the menu that works—which isn’t everything on the menu—occupies that radiant third space, the overlap of the Star of David and the rising sun…Each success is a marriage between Japanese and Jewish cuisine, a negotiation between the minimalist approach of kaiseki, the scraping away of extraneous matter to expose the essence of an ingredient, and the Jewish approach to food, characterized by a scrappy hustling of byproducts, rootlessness and schmaltz. The best example is Shalom Japan’s matzo ball ramen ($16). Will I ever again drink matzo ball soup or slurp ramen without thinking of it? No, I won’t.” [NY Observer]

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Screen shot 2010 04 16 at 6.24.29 PM Rye

Rye

RYE

TAGS: American Nouveau, Bedford, Brunch (Weekends), Fancy Cocktails, Open Late, South Williamsburg

With its pre-prohibition era décor and the best Old Fashioned we’ve ever tasted (theirs is made with rye, of course) Rye is a hidden gem. Don’t miss the meatloaf sandwich — it’s made with ground veal, pork, short rib, and duck and comes with house-made pickles. It’s decadent, but amazing. Rye makes a great Bloody Mary too, with a touch of anise, which goes perfect with their Sunday brunch.

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Roberta's

Roberta’s

ROBERTA’S

TAGS: Brunch (Weekends), Bushwick, Garden/Outdoor Seating, Hipster Spottings, Italian, Pizza

You’ll feel like you’ve been invited to a farmhouse in Vermont, until you taste the brick oven pizza which will transport you to Italy. Many ingredients are grown on premises in the garden outside. This is our favorite restaurant in Bushwick. Start with a pizza to share and be sure to try one of the seasonal entrees. The Times call Roberta’s “one of the more extraordinary restaurants in the United States.” We agree.

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Marlow & Sons

Marlow & Sons c/o NY Mag

MARLOW & SONS

TAGS: American Nouveau, Bedford, Breakfast, Brunch (Weekends), Hipster Spottings, Open Late, Seafood

Tucked away beneath the Williamsburg bridge in the increasingly posh South Williamsburg, Marlow & Sons has been pleasing crowds for nearly a decade. The bar’s back room feels like a saloon and expect great wine, oysters, exquisite service, and a small menu with classic American fare. (Locally-sourced of course). It can get a little tight on the weekends, but the food is worth the wait. Don’t miss the brick chicken, which sounds boring, but is quite exquisite. A great place for a romantic date.

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bozu

BOZU

TAGS: Bedford, Garden/Outdoor Seating, Izakaya, Japanese/Sushi, Lorimer

Sit at the bar at this cozy Japanese joint and enjoy a handful of their small plates. We love the pork belly and the shrimp dumplings, but you can’t go wrong with the sushi either. The strawberry infused vodka is wonderful and has been aged for 8 years and counting. Get a glass to help wash down the fried octopus balls, which we’re told are a staple Japanese bar food. On nice days, the garden is beautiful and festive.

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Screen shot 2010 04 08 at 3.44.10 PM Fette Sau

Fette Sau

FETTE SAU

TAGS: BBQ, Bedford, Delivery, Garden/Outdoor Seating, Hipster Spottings, Lorimer, Open Late, Southern

Prepare to wait in line, but if you’re hankering for a no-frills plate of meat served by the pound, you’ll love Fette Sau. We recommend the pork belly which is hands-down the best (and most fatty) thing on the menu. Otherwise, avoid ribs and meat served on the bone — everything is good, but you are paying by the pound after all. On the downside, the potato salad and the other sides are generally flavorless.

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Gwynnett St.

image c/o Gastrochic

ALLSWELL

TAGS: American Nouveau, Bedford, Fancy Cocktails, Moderately Priced, Open Late

Spotted Pig veteran Nate Smith, opens a no-frills locavore joint just off the main Bedford drag. And it’s darn good. Formerly a polish diner that looks more like an Eastern European hunting lodge, Allswell is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Menu varies from night to night, so be sure to check their website. Brunch is especially good and nowhere near as crowded as many other Williamsburg favorites.

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Brooklyn Star

Brooklyn Star

BROOKLYN STAR

TAGS: American Traditional, Lorimer, Open Late, Restaurants, Southern

Now in a new more spacious location — the original restaurant closed after a large-scale fire — Brooklyn Star is now serving up comfort food with a Nawlins twist. They no longer have a brick oven, but the menu remains largely the same. And by that, we mean its delicious. Must have dishes include the Dr. Pepper ribs and the

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image c/o NY Times

ST. ANSELM

TAGS: American Nouveau, BBQ, Bedford, Good for Groups, Lorimer, Notable Beer, Recommended, Restaurants, Steakhouse, Wine Bar,

St. Anselm reopened in 2011 with an all-new menu and the difference shows. From the owners of Spuyten Duyvil and Fette Sau, St. Anselm is now an essential Williamsburg dining experience. As NY Mag points out, the wines are as amazing as the food: As impressive as St. Anselm is on the food front, it’s even more so on the wine. If Spuyten Duyvil demonstrates Joe Carroll’s exceptional beer geekery and Fette Sau his fluency with American whiskeys, then St. Anselm proves that he’s also a major oenophile with ecstatically offbeat taste and the guts to veer away from big-ticket Bordeaux and Napa Cab convention. His list itself is worthy of multiple trips, if only to sample rare by-the-glass selections of “yellow” wines from the Jura (vinified like fino ­sherry), “orange” wine from Friuli-Venezia (tinted by exposure to white-grape skins), and draft picks from two of the region’s most experimental producers (Red Hook Winery and Channing Daughters). Visionary winemakers both present and past populate the list, from Abe Schoener to Dr. Konstantin Frank, but what really sets it apart is the array of half-bottles, nearly five dozen opportunities to match each course, be it fish or fowl or succulent red meat, to its perfect pairing.

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sel del mar Sel de Mer

Sel De Mer (c/o Grub Street)

SEL DE MER

TAGS: American Nouveau, Brunch (Weekends), Graham, Seafood

The owner’s intention was to create a cozy little place that would transport his customers to one of those seaside fried fish shacks you find in New England. He succeeded. The beer-battered fish is excellent. Actually everything is. Don’t miss their exquisite — and cheap — brunch with great specials like crabcake benedict.

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Dumont

Dumont

DUMONT

TAGS: American Nouveau, Brunch (Weekends), Burgers, Fancy Cocktails, Garden/Outdoor Seating, Lorimer

Our favorite Williamsburg restaurant. The regular menu is grounded in a small selection of finely done standards; a house salad, a half-chicken, steak and fries, and burgers. You can do no wrong by ordering one of these, especially the burger, which is so popular, it spawned a spin-off restaurant, Dumont Burger. The combination of excellent meals, a Williamsburg-appropriate casual atmosphere, low prices, and downright welcoming staff make DuMont a classic. Note: Dumont is currently closed.

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Mesa Coyoacan

MESA COYOACAN

TAGS: Brunch (Weekends), Graham, Mexican, Moderately Priced, Open Late, Recommended

Yet another reason to travel to the Graham Avenue stop, Mesa Coyoacan has amazing, inventive Mexican food that is among the best we’ve had in all five boroughs. The Pollo Pipian is fantastic and we keep going back for the refreshing cucumber margarita. Though the shared tables can at times feel a bit cramped — sit at the bar unless you have a group — the stellar food keeps us returning for more.

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Screen shot 2010 04 27 at 1.50.39 PM Zenkichi

Zenkichi

ZENKICHI

TAGS: Bedford, Izakaya, Japanese/Sushi, Open Late

This place wins for best atmosphere and for the best place to take a date. Dark, shadowy and filled with mirrors and hidden rooms, you’ll feel like you’re in a 40s film noir. Plus the Japanese tapas served here are great. Try the tasting menu for two and don’t miss the very affordable sake sampler. Also, try the Maguro Carpaccio, a tuna dish lightly coated with sweet sesame marinade and wrapped around chilled, thin slices of radish and chives. Delicious.

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glasserie1

Glasserie

GLASSERIE

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The stand-out dish at this deep Greenpoint newcomer is the rabbit for two. (It’s amazing). But Glasserie aims to please and serves many Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian dishes as well, such as Rice with yogurt, hen of the woods & toasted nuts. The space is beautiful — it’s inside a refurbished industrial glass factory beside Newton Creek. Don’t miss their flaky flat-bread to accompany your entree. Glasserie is our favorite restaurant in Greenpoint.

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traif3

Traif

TRAIF

TAGS: American Nouveau, Expensive, Recently Opened South Williamsburg

You won’t find anything kosher on the menu – bacon donuts, baby back ribs, fois gras with egg and bacon, scallops – and that’s the point. In Yiddish, the name refers to foods that are forbidden by Jewish dietary laws, so it’s not too popular with the local Hasidim. A very eclectic and delicious menu for experimental eaters who love their pork and shellfish.

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Screen shot 2010 06 09 at 5.47.01 PM 300x288 Paulie Gees

Paulie Gee’s

PAULIE GEES

TAGS: Fairly Cheap, Good for Groups, Greenpoint, Pizza, Recommended

The only place in New York where we don’t mind waiting 45 minutes to eat pizza. It’s that good. (Plus we can always meander next door for craft beer at Brouwerij Lane while we wait.) Paulie’s brick oven pies, served up in a beautifully renovated warehouse that looks more like a barn you’d find in upstate New York, are our favorite Brooklyn. Sorry Robertas. Start with the Greenpointer — a white pie with Fior di Latte, Baby Arugula, Olive Oil, Fresh Lemon Juice and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano — and be sure to try one of the pies that has hot honey on it. Wash it all down with one of the many craft beers they have on the menu. A true Greenpoint gem.

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Screen shot 2010 10 19 at 3.01.39 PM 300x200 Five Leaves

Five Leaves

FIVE LEAVES

TAGS: American Nouveau, Breakfast, Brunch (Weekends), Coffee Shop/Cafe, Delivery, Fancy Cocktails, Garden/Outdoor Seating

Our favorite Australian/American Café sits right on the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg and serves eclectic food at all hours of the day. Fresh flowers are everywhere you look, and the décor is nautically themed which is always a plus in our books. Though seasonal entrees are sublime don’t miss the burger! Our favorite pancakes are from here on the weekend brunch menu, but we also love the truffle fries.

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ny620 Diner

Diner

DINER

TAGS: American Nouveau, American Traditional, Bedford, Brunch (Weekends), Burgers, Diner, Garden/Outdoor Seating, Open Late, South Williamsburg

Located near the rustic Williamsburg Bridge, when you step into Diner, which inhabits a refurbished 1926-dining car, you’re immediately transported to another era. Serving American Nouveau food, the menu appears sparse at first until you realize that each entrée is a constantly changing special of the day. Brunch is our favorite meal there, although the dinner ranks pretty high on our list as well.

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sweetchick

Sweet Chick

SWEET CHICK

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Sweet Chick is the brainchild of John Seymour who also owns Pop’s of Brooklyn. The menu offers classic soul food staples (all organic) such as roasted pork tenderloin, dry-aged rib eye, & grilled fish in addition to chicken & waffles. In terms of your waffle choice, you can order a regular buttermilk Belgian-style waffle, bacon + cheddar cheese, rosemary mushroom, or the special seasonal waffle. Delicious sides includes buttermilk biscuits, spicy shoestring french fries, ritz-cracker crusted mac and cheese, and pickled watermelon.

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RUNNER-UPS

ACAPULCO – Amazing old school Mexican joint. Don’t miss the chorizo tacos and the house-made guac.
ANELLA – Tasty locavore fare in a low-traffic area of Greenpoint.
BACI & ABBRICI – Love the food, especially the perfect homemade lasagna.
BAMONTE’S – Old world Soprano’s setting — stick to the homemade pastas and absorb the scenery.
BRISKETTOWN – Best dang brisket you’ll get in New York.
BROOKLYN BOWL – Bowling alleys aren’t generally known for their food, but most don’t have award-winning chefs cooking for them either.
THE COMMODORE – More of a bar vibe, but go for the fried chicken.
D.O.C. WINE BAR – Romantic and perfect for wine and snacks.
FORNINI – Sublime brick oven pizza.
KARCZMA – Great traditional Polish fare.
MABLE’S SMOKEHOUSE – Less expensive than Fette Sau and Briskettown and more fun.
MAISSON PREMIERE – The best oysters in Williamsburg and only a buck a pop during happy hour. This would have made our top 20, but it’s more of a bar than a restaurant.
MOTORINO – They’re back in a new South Williamsburg location with amazing artisinal pies!
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS – Great drinks and the nachos with fried plantains are to die for.
NORTHEAST KINGDOM One of our favorite brunch spots and along with Roberta’s and Dear Bushwick is helping to raise the bar for great food in Bushwick.
PETER’S SINCE 1969 – Great meatloaf and yummy sides when you want comfort in a hurry.
SALTIE – Great sandwiches in a cute storefront.
POTLIKKER – Don’t miss the Fried Oyster Po’ Boy or the Dutch pancake at this criminally underrated joint. Added plus… it’s never crowded!
REYNARD – Great seasonal bistro fare in a beautiful restored warehouse setting.
TABARE – Great food from Uruguay served by some very nice people in a quaint and romantic spot.
WALTER FOODS – One of our favorite brunch spots and a great raw bar. Don’t miss the catfish and the french dip for dinner.

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Fiona Goldstein is the food editor of Free Williamsburg. Contact her at mail@freewilliamsburg.com for any questions/comments.